Many people are under the impression that Medicare will provide long-term care benefits for them if they need an assisted living facility and/or nursing home. Boy, are they in for a surprise!
If you’re one of these people, sorry to burst your bubble. But it’s better if your bubble’s burst now, while you can still do something about it.
Medicare does provide care for over-65’s if they’re blind or disabled. Medicare does not, however, provide chronic care services for most individuals with a long-term illness from which they probably will not recover. Put bluntly – Medicare doesn’t give a hoot about your long-term health care problems!
As a result, many people are forced to pay for long term care out of their own pockets. And if you’re like most people, your pockets are not large enough! Medicaid can cover long-term care – but might require you to pay for your own care until you have only $2,000 left in assets.
However, there are ways to protect yourself – or a loved one – from being totally impoverished by the Medicaid rules. The best way? See an Elder Law attorney.
Most families, of course, can’t afford nursing home costs (which can easily run more than $7,000 a month). While Medicare sometimes covers up to 100 days in a skilled nursing facility, it generally doesn’t cover the long-term care required by Alzheimer’s patients. Instead, its limited nursing home coverage is more meant for people who will eventually recover.
That’s obviously not the case with Alzheimer’s patients. They need custodial, rather than rehabilitative, care. This means assistance with preparing meals, bathing, grooming, toileting, and other normal activities.
Alzheimer’s disease is the third most-expensive illness in the United States, after heart disease and cancer. Health care costs for Alzheimer’s average more than $200,000. So it’s understandable that, sooner or later, most patients who need long-term nursing home care turn to Medicaid.
The three most common ways to pay for nursing home care are long-term care insurance, paying yourself, and Medicaid. If you can afford the $200-$300 a month (and if you have no major pre-existing conditions), long-term care insurance is the best option.
People who already have Alzheimer’s aren’t going to be able to get long-term insurance. But if their spouse is relatively healthy, and can afford it, it’s much better than spending your assets down to the poverty level.
Sound confusing? Just wait until you’re confronted with the qualifications requirements for Medicaid! If you haven’t yet called an Elder Law attorney… you probably will then!
At The Law Offices of Alice Reiter Feld & Associates, we are Elder Law attorneys. We talk families through the Medicaid Maze every day. In fact, over the past 33 years, we’ve helped thousands of South Florida families navigate this maze. And we’ve helped them, as well, with comprehensive estate planning, wills, trusts, powers of attorney, long-term care planning (so you’ll never have to pay $7,000 a month for nursing home care!), asset protection (ditto!), and issues with Medicaid or the VA.
This is what we do – every day. And we’re just a phone call away.
Me? On Medicaid?